I was born Charles Spencer Chaplin in Walworth, London on April 16, 1889. I have an older brother, Sydney, but he's only my half brother- same mother, different father. I was named after my father, but he was a drunk. He died when he was thirty-seven. My mother, Hannah, was a music hall entertainer. Both her physical and mental health fluctuated during my youth.
One night, when I was five years old, she became sick during a performance. I went out on stage and sang in her place. I knew then that I loved performing, and I loved it when the audience threw money at me. It was difficult for my mother to make enough money to support me, Syd, and herself. Syd and I had to share a single pair of shoes, taking turns going from place to place.
My mother slipped into insanity. We were constantly made fun of and the authorities separated the three of us for a year. By the time I was fourteen, I was forced to have her committed to an institution. I don't like to remember my childhood. When I was about seventeen, Syd introduced me to Fred Kar no, who led a vaudeville troupe. I succeeded in impressing him, and I subsequently became a member of the troupe.
It was during my time in this troupe that I fell in love with a dancer, named Hetty Kelly. I asked her to marry me, but she, being only sixteen, felt that she was too young. I then asked her to wait for me until I returned from the troupe's planned trip to New York. While spending time in New York, I started to become fascinated with the movies. I got a telegram one day from Mack Sennett from Keystone Pictures, who offered me a job in California. He promised $150 per week.
I was off to Hollywood within the next month. When we I met Sennett, he did not believe that I was Charlie Chaplin. He said that Charlie Chaplin did the best drunk he had ever seen and that I was too young to be him. I immediately went into my drunk routine, which convinced him.
He took me and said, "Forget everything you ever learned, you " re not in the theater anymore." At first I was terrified by the movies, but it soon became very natural to me. I walked into a room of costumes and tried many different things on. Sennett and the rest of the crew grew angry as they waited for me to get myself dressed. "I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. Everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large." I put white make-up on my face, along with heavy black eye-liner, and finally a thick, black moustache. From this outfit came my infamous character: The Tramp.
"I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born." After making numerous movies with Sennett, and being proclaimed an asset to Keystone Pictures, I decided that I wanted to run my own show; I wanted to direct, and have my own studio. Sennett often doubted me and became sick of me always wanting more.
I went on to form United Artists in 1919, with my good friend, Douglas Fairbanks, his wife and "America's Sweetheart", Mary Pickford, and director, David Wark (D. W. ) Griffith. I married Mildred Harris one year earlier. Our marriage was rather brief. I believe that being married to her debilitated my creative abilities.
We divorced not long after our son, Norman's birth, and death only three days later. In 1921, I made a very dismal and depressing visit to London. On this trip I learned that Hetty had not only married another man, but she had also died of diphtheria during the war. Besides being overwhelmed by the news, I was overwhelmed by the deluge of attention that I received from the public. Some of the attention was negative-jealous men who were poor or unemployed. Yet I still felt greatly annoyed, and even somewhat depressed from the positive attention.
I felt as though I had no home. I returned home, and after a short while, "talkies" were growing in popularity. I refused to believe that they would ever catch on. I felt as tough adding dialogue to a film would take away its universality.
Those who did not speak English would no longer be able to watch a movie spoken in the English language. Besides, the Tramp could not talk! The magic would be gone if he talked. "The minute he talks, he's dead." I married Lita Grey in 1924. I had to marry her in Mexico. In America, it would have been illegal for me to marry her, for I was thirty-six, and she was merely sixteen. Wit her I had two sons: Charles Jr.
, and Sydney. Our divorce was horrible, but I tried to keep it out of the public out of respect for my sons. I found myself greatly affected by the war and the Depression. I hated Fascism and Nazis and was very public about it. I was often criticized about my political actions. J.
Edgar Hoover suspected that I was a communist and led an extensive F. B. I. report about me. In 1938, I began work on "The Great Dictator"- my first "talkie." I was inspired when my brother made a comment comparing me to Hitler.
He said that we looked alike with our moustache's and said that he was stealing my act. Many criticized me for the message I portrayed in this movie, but I didn't care. I said that if the Tramp was going to speak, ten he would at least say something that I believe in. A few years later, I married Paulette Goddard.
We were good friends before we were married. She was my only wife up until that point who didn't take me for a fortune. My sons loved her, and she often took care of them when I was working. It was my emersion in my work ("The Great Dictator") and lack of attention towards her that led to our divorce in 1942. I soon befriended a girl named Joan Berry.
She was my girlfriend for a short wile. She started showing up at my house night after night, and she started to become deranged. Not too long after that I met and fell in love with, Oona O'Neil. She reminded me so much of Hetty.
We married in 1943 when she was only seven-teen. Many people doubted that our relationship would last, but I knew that I had finally found love. She had a very calm manner about her. She remained calm and supportive when Joan filed a lawsuit against me claiming that I had impregnated her and would not support the child.
I knew that I could not be the father, and I even took a paternity test. The test showed that I was not the father, but Joan's lawyer questioned the test's validity. His tactic was point out that Joan was poor and that I could afford to support baby Carol-Ann. Despite the evidence proving my innocence, I lost the case and I had to pay child-support. Oona's calming mannerisms were again, great support to me during another time of crisis in our lives.
In 1952, as we were leaving for a vacation, we got news saying that we had been deported. J. Edgar Hoover had negotiated with the INS (the Immigration and Naturalization Service) to have my re-entry permit revoked. We moved to Switzerland and lived there for the rest of our lives. Together, Oona and I had eight children. We did not return to America until 1972.
I was presented with an Honorary Oscar, for "the incalculable effect [I have] had in making motion pictures from the art form of this century." In March of 1975, I was knighted by Queen Elizabeth 11. I died on Christmas day, 1977. In all, I was in seventeen feature films, and over seventy short films. Works Cited. Biography for Charles Chaplin. Internet Movie Database Inc.
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1992. 144 min. Gerstein, David. Charlie Chaplin, A World Wide Web Celebration. 11 January, 2005. web Peter.
The Legend of Charlie Caplin. Book Sales Inc. 110 Enterprise Avenue, Secaucus, NJ. 1982. Lynn, Kenneth S. Charlie Chaplin and His Times.
Simon & Schuster Rockefeller Center. 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY. 1997 Raymond, Tom. Charlie Chaplin Biography. "Clown Ministry" Copyright (c) WebRing Inc.
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